When it comes to cybersecurity, most of the literature focuses on the threat posed by various hackers and hacker groups. While these threats are indeed very real, there is another group of people that might be inclined to invade your online privacy: Other private corporations. Unfortunately, corporate espionage is also a real threat and one that is bigger than ever. Let’s look at some more information so that we can understand this problem a little better.
7 Good Reasons To Protect Yourself From Corporate Hackers
It should be obvious that you don’t want anyone hacking your company, regardless of their intent. However, we want to give you a little more specific information than that. Here are seven good reasons to be concerned about this problem:
- 1. Other companies can steal your work and pass it off as theirs.
- 2. Rivals can use hackers to save money on research and development (at your expense).
- 3. Rivals can also use hackers to sabotage your compliance with regulations before reporting you.
- 4. Privacy, in general, has value and is worth preserving for its own sake.
- 5. A high-profile hack can greatly erode the trust of your customers.
- 6. Even if data isn’t stolen, other companies can sabotage your productivity with DDOS attacks and other forms of network denial.
- 7. All it takes is one embarrassing secret to defame your entire organization.
How Companies Get Hacked
In order to keep yourself from being the victim of a cyberattack, it is a good idea to learn about the common ways in which you might be attacked. This allows you to be prepared and guard those particular areas with extra vigilance.
One of the most common ways for a company to be penetrated is email phishing. Basically, they use a fake email that has been disguised as a legitimate one. It will probably be made to resemble an email from some respectable organization, like your bank or a well-regarded charity group. Obviously, it won’t be a perfect copy, but many people do not have the eyes to catch those little differences.
Usually, these emails will contain a link or attachment that you are directed to click. Once you do, you will have inadvertently given permission for the hacker’s malware to install. From that point on, you can be victimized in all sorts of ways. Because this is a human problem, it is one of the hardest security loopholes to close.
If you are dealing with a serious hacker, they will probably at least consider the use of infiltration tactics. That means they get someone on the inside to help them hack you. This can be done by recruiting a disgruntled employee or by inserting their own “mole” as a low-level employee. Depending on the nature of their goals, they might spend a long time getting their people into position before striking.
Most of the time, these hackers do not bother with remote methods. Because they can potentially gain physical access to your machines, they don’t have to fool with any of that. Instead, they will normally plug in a flash drive that contains malware, directly downloading it to the target computer. Thus, there is no need to bother compromising the network itself.
Although many people will tell you that cloud computing is more secure, this is not necessarily the case. There have been quite a few incidents in which cloud providers have been hacked, and they haven’t always been quick to inform the public about those hacks. Some other people will tell you that the cloud is not secure at all…so which is the truth?
The truth is that a cloud network can only be as secure as its administrators. If your cloud provider uses constant network monitoring, effective firewalls, stout antivirus protection, and other security measures, that cloud is not very likely to be hacked. However, a cloud provider that doesn’t focus on security will represent a very soft target for a cybercriminal.
DDOS And Network Denial
This is a tactic that is used to take down a website. Although such a takedown is normally temporary, it can cost a company all sorts of money in the meantime. When you are doing large amounts of business over the internet, even a single hour of downtime represents a significant loss of profit.
DDOS’ing works by overloading a website with a huge number of connection requests. After a certain point, the server is overloaded and responds by shutting things down. DDOS stands for “Distributed Denial Of Service Attack.”
Ways To Prevent Being Hacked
Here is a quick list of tips that can help you and your organization to avoid the dangers of cyber-attack. Any of these could be the subject of detailed research, and we encourage you to do that in order to learn more.
- Always use strong passwords (i.e., as long and random as possible). Simple passwords can be cracked in minutes.
- Use network encryption whenever possible, combining a VPN with a browser add-on called HTTPS Everywhere.
- Use full-disk encryption on any machines that contain sensitive data. No exceptions.
- Consider encrypting your DNS (Domain Name Server) as well. It’s a little harder, but it closes a major security gap.
- Consider switching your most sensitive machines to a Linux-based system. When properly configured, they are far more secure than any version of Windows.
- Keep all your software up-to-date so that you always have the latest security patches. This includes firewall rules and antivirus definitions in particular.
- Don’t depend on your antivirus software alone. It’s a useful tool, but it’s only one tool.
It is unfortunate that so many people have chosen to use technology as an avenue for crimes. However, there will always be those who look for the easy way, and that’s why the hacker threat isn’t going away anytime soon. Although it is kind of a “dirty little secret,” corporations spy on each other all the time. That’s why it is so important to take a proactive attitude and make yourself harder to infiltrate. If you would like to know more, you can call PCH Technologies at (856) 754-7500.